Kate Middleton's Parents Sell Party Supply Business That Mom Carole Built From Scratch

·4-min read

Carole Middleton started Party Pieces as a young mom after only being able to find clown plates when she celebrated Kate's fifth birthday

Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Carole and Michael Middleton
Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Carole and Michael Middleton

The party (pieces) is over for Carole and Michael Middleton.

Kate Middleton's parents sold their party supply company to an entrepreneur who owns, among other companies, an ice cream business.

Carole Middleton started Party Pieces in 1987 after only being able to find clown plates when she celebrated Kate's fifth birthday. The business began at her kitchen table, where she created party bags and other trinkets for children and their families before building it into a thriving business.

But Party Pieces had reportedly suffered during and since the pandemic, Sky News reported, and was sold on Thursday to entrepreneur James Sinclair. He confirmed the purchase via his Instagram stories, writing, "The latest acquisition."

"Sources said the sale had been implemented through a pre-pack administration, meaning it had appointed insolvency practitioners before being sold without some of its liabilities," Sky News reported. "It was unclear what price Mr Sinclair's company, Teddy Tastic Bear Co Ltd, had paid or how big the liabilities were that had been left behind."

Last year, Carole, 68, proudly told of the origins of the company and its place in her family — and how her three children — Kate, 41, Pippa, 39, and James, 36 — all played roles in it. "Party Pieces has literally grown alongside my family, and I'm very proud of that," she told Sheer Luxe. "Pippa wrote our 'Party Times' blog, James did the cakes when he first left school and Catherine developed our first birthday and baby category."

Related:Kate Middleton's First Job at Her Mom's Party Supply Business Has a Connection to Her Royal Work!

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

"My husband and I were young and a little inexperienced, but very enthusiastic, so we didn't worry too much," Carole recalled. "We took any early setbacks in our stride and had a lot of fun building the business together. When [my husband] Michael and I first started Party Pieces, we did everything ourselves. Taking orders, filling boxes and sometimes making the deliveries. The children were often there too after school. Partyware was a relatively new idea back then, so we worked hard to build our customer base and relied mostly on the odd letter or phone call for feedback."

"My family have always been my biggest supporters and biggest critics. Their honest feedback has been invaluable in helping to shape the business. Party Pieces has evolved from just selling children's products in the early days to curating pieces for all kinds of celebrations, including milestone birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings and new babies," she said.

Related:Kate Middleton Just Shared the Ultimate Throwback Photo from Her Childhood — Taken by Her Mom

Periodically, Carole used the company's website and social media to provide tips about upcoming events and holidays. Before Christmas 2021, she said she was looking forward to decorating her home with Scandinavian-style festive gnomes to bring a smile to her young grandchildren, including Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Carole is also a grandmother to her daughter Pippa's three children.

"I'm going to need a few of these cheeky chaps this December, to hide around the house and make my grandchildren laugh," Carole posted on the Instagram page of her Party Pieces online alongside an image of two festive gnomes — or "Tomte" as they're called in Sweden.

"As much as I love immaculate decorations, we can't be too serious at Christmas!" she added.

Karwai Tang/WireImage Michael and Carole Middleton at Wimbledon tennis championships
Karwai Tang/WireImage Michael and Carole Middleton at Wimbledon tennis championships

Before Halloween last year, she wrote in a new Instagram post, "Halloween is an Autumn highlight for me. I can still remember the fun and frights from my own childhood; the chance to dress up, decorate pumpkins and go trick-or-treating!"

"I've even grown my own pumpkins this year, so I'm looking forward to decorating those with my loved ones," she said.

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Last year, Carole, 68, ventured into the American market selling party favors via ShopRite grocery stores in New Jersey. Visiting one of the stores, the entrepreneur's Instagram page announced, "This marks the brand's first retail partnership outside of the United Kingdom and is the beginning of larger expansion plans in the United States."

"This next phase of growth for Party Pieces will make the products available for the first time in retail in the U.S. at 39 Saker ShopRite stores. It comes only a year after a successful e-commerce launch in the U.K., which saw Party Pieces Collections quickly become a best-selling ranges for the brand."

As the parents of the Princess of Wales, Carole and Michael, 73, have been welcomed into the royal family, and are regular guests at family events. The couple and their children were guests at the coronation of Princess Kate's father-in-law, King Charles, on May 6.

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